Thank you, Dr. Penhoet, and good morning, everyone. I am very flattered to be introducing this symposium and pleased, on behalf of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation to welcome all of you. We are all here because we share a common goal, to save women’s lives from breast cancer. As founder and chairman of an organization that has raised over $95 million since 1993 to support innovative research in preventing and curing cancer, I know and appreciate the critical role of early detection and diagnosis.
In 1992, along with Alexandra Penney, who was then editor of Self magazine, we introduced to people all over the world the pink ribbon which has come to be recognized as a universal sign of breast health and awareness. I’m proud to say that since that time, the Estee Lauder Companies alone have distributed over 45 million of these ribbons at our counters worldwide.
In 1993, I led a delegation of Estee Lauder executives and editors from Self magazine to Washington, D.C., and we raised a window shade on which had been pinned 250,000 names. Through coverage of this event in the national press and television and our visit to Hillary Clinton at the White House, we drew attention to the fact that the federal government needed desperately to give more funds for breast cancer research. It was then that Major General Travis was designated to head a study as a result of which substantial new funds were made available for breast cancer research. So from the outset, we have been dedicated to supporting clinical and genetic research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer.
Our Foundation’s grants for stellar research projects have really grown. For example, and of particular interest today, we provided major funding for the 2001 IOM and NRC report, Mammography and Beyond (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2001). After its publication, Dr. Larry Norton, our scientific diretor, who is with us today, addressed the Foundation’s board and told us that the IOM was appointing a new committee to embark on a study to expand on that report. Dr. Herdman and Dr. Joy can attest to the enthusiasm with which Dr. Norton’s suggestions were greeted. We called the IOM right after the meeting to say that $100,000 had been pledged on the spot by members of our board for the new committee’s work.
Since then, the Foundation has provided steady financial support for the project and has eagerly awaited the committee’s findings, which were released to the public last week, and are being expanded and presented in greater detail at this symposium today.
I could not be more proud of the research that Dr. Norton and his colleagues on our Medical Advisory Board have recommended for support by The Breast